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Earth is the only place in the universe that we know is home to life. It turns out that life can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, evolving ways to survive -- including a recent discovery of arsenic-eating bacteria -- even in the strangest, seemingly inhospitable places on the planet and off it.
Bubbling tarSlide 2 of 21
Bubbling lakes of hot tar hardly seem like they would be able to host living things, but it turns out they can apparently teem with microbial life.
In the world's largest naturally occurring asphalt lake Pitch Lake, on the Caribbean island of Trinidad each gram of sticky black goo can harbor up to 10 million microbes.Slide 3 of 21
Radioactive wasteSlide 4 of 21
While a radiation dose of 10 grays would kill a human, the bacteria Deinococcus radiodurans can take up to 5,000 grays with no visible effect, and can even withstand up to 15,000 grays, earning it the title of "world's toughest bacterium" in the Guinness Book of World Records.
It withstands radiation that shatters its genome into hundreds of DNA fragments with the aid of multiple copies of its genome.Slide 5 of 21
Boiling waterSlide 6 of 21
The scalding heat and crushing pressure found at hydrothermal vents on the seafloor would doubtlessly kill us in an instant if we experienced them, but they are home to a dazzling array of life.
Underwater hot springs in the Pacific Ocean often teem with tubeworms and giant clams, while the Atlantic variety is typically home to eyeless shrimp and other extreme residents.
These deepwater denizens thrive on the mineral-rich waters that emanate from the vents, using a process called chemosynthesis to make energy. Some life in these dark abysses can even live off the scarce light shed by these vents.Slide 7 of 21
Clean roomsSlide 8 of 21